Is Pay Parking Coming to Reston Town Center?

Boston Properties executive says visitors will likely have to pay in the future.

Is paid parking in future?

Possibly. Boston Properties vice president and D.C. general manager Peter Johnson tells the The Washington Business Journal he "suspects it will happen in the near future" but there is no timetable or rate structure in place.

Johnson tells WBJ that Reston Town Center,  really "is an urban setting in a suburban environment."

And in urban envionments, it is common to pay for parking.

Boston Properties owns more than one million square feet of space in Reston, including the South Of Market development (the newer section of RTC). It is also building the The company also recently announced it is heading a group

Earlier this year,

All RTC garages are currently free except for the one at the

Johnson made the comments on Boston Properties' third-quarter earnings conference call.

He said the gates in place at RTC prevent commuters from overwhelming the garages and act as "a means of getting our customer base and the retail base used to the prospect of coming into a controlled environment as a precursor to being able to charge for parking."

Parking is likely to be at a premium after 2013, when Metrorail's Silver Line comes to Wiehle Avenue. A station on Reston Parkway, near RTC, is slated to open several years later.

Wiehle is the only stop on the Silver Line that will have a parking garage. More than 2,000 spaces are planned in the seven-story garage currently under construction.

Would you pay to park at Reston Town Center? Tell us in the comments.


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Tammi Petrine August 25, 2012 at 03:40 AM
No way will I pay to park. Reston is Reston; not an urban community. Yes, we are getting more density but not urban regardless of the desires of some. We do not have urban infrastructure now and no way to pay for it in the future. I do not pay to park and I do not pay high tolls to use the DTR. Get a grip, Boston Properties. You will kill the retail in RTC just as the high tolls will ruin our currently highly rated community. These issues are NOT rocket science, folks.
John Smith August 25, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Free parking has always been one of the nicest, most welcoming features of the Reston Town Center; it has really distinguished this area from other, greedier commercial locales. People feel better about coming here and spending money in Town Center businesses when they don't also have to pay to park. Does Reston want to remain "special" or does it want to become just another greedy face in the crowd?
Cindy Williams August 25, 2012 at 11:55 AM
One of the benefits of living in the suburbs and not the city IS the free parking. When I lived in Arlington, I would purposely drive to Tysons to shop, rather than go to Pentagon City where I had to pay to park. It's a hassle to deal with even the $1-$2 fee, wait in line to pay, etc. I could easily find everything at RTC elsewhere without having to worry about parking. I pay enough when I shop and eat...I shouldn't have to pay to park as well. Bad, bad idea that will definitely affect how frequently I go to RTC!
Susan R August 25, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Put simply: If they choose to charge for parking, then I'll choose Fairfax Corner, Tyson's, or D.C. for my shopping and dining.
Stella McEnearny August 25, 2012 at 04:16 PM
RTC: Faux Urban, Genuine Rip-Off. I'll continue my policy of avoiding this mecca for the moneyed.
Vivian Coss August 25, 2012 at 04:24 PM
If they charge more than $1.00/ 4 hours for parking I will eat and shop elsewhere, such as Fairfax Corner.
Steve L August 25, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I'll continue to pay $1.00 for parking at Ballston mall, but not at Reston Town Center. There's not enough compelling reason for me to do so.
Becky Waldrup August 25, 2012 at 04:46 PM
No. Too many other choices, like the aforementioned Tysons area and Dulles Town Center. Plus, I am sure that even more and closer options will become available due to development planned as a result of the Metro. If I feel like it, I can take a 20-min. walk to RTC or even ride my bicycle there. If I feel like it.
Amrish Pinto (Realtor) August 25, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Retail and office tenants of Reston Town Center should have a say in this, especially if they pay a little extra for the upkeep and maintenance of the garages...which they likely do.
Judith Andersen August 25, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Oh no. That is such bad business. Too many free alternatives. Not having to pay for parking was a big draw; with that gone, well, Tysons' is free and the stores are bigger and more numerous.
Sandra Clark August 25, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Sandy C No, like the other people who commented, it seems out of character with the nature of Reston, and I would go there only if there is no alternative.
Michael Rosenblatt August 26, 2012 at 12:30 AM
I agree with Stu. There is only one reason for considering this change by Boston Properties, and that is GREED. The 2-3 quick stops or evening out visits per month will immediately cease to exist. I hope the restaurants and shops are prepared for a sudden drop in business.
Michael August 26, 2012 at 01:05 AM
If they make you pay at the garages, people will park for free at the Library, Hospital, Spectrum (Best Buy plaza), etc.,and walk to the town center, thus making it impossible for patrons of those locations to park. This would be particularly bad for the Best Buy /Barnes & Noble area - it's hard enough to park there as it is.
Ray Wedell August 26, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Was that last question rhetorical, Stu? Of course they are. You and I both know that.
Ray Wedell August 26, 2012 at 11:26 PM
No. It goes way beyond the cost of parking...can you imagine the log-jams getting in and out when people have to stop for tickets, shuffle through their pockets and the like for money or credit card, can't find the parking ticket and hold everyone up behind them, etc.? Boston Properties and its enablers in the Reston Town Center planning have ridiculous amounts of power to do whatever they want, whenever they want. They operate in the dark, and if you ever figure out how to get to one of their "public" meetings, you will be dis-invited if you ask a tough question after their required presentation. The Reston Town Center has been a golden goose, so leave it to developers and their enablers to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.
Ray Wedell August 26, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Bingo! Thank you, Sandra. Boston Properties and other developers have no knowledge of Reston's character, and could not care less. If we are surprised by this, it is our fault.
Ray Wedell August 26, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Ray Wedell August 26, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Absolutely right. But if Boston Properties wants it, they will get it. There is no strong voice present to stop them.
Ray Wedell August 26, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Tammi, Common sense is not common any longer. And if some bean counter at BP figures their short-term profit, or just short-term profit projection, can be increased, then they ram this through. If a BP employee can squeeze a little extra bonus out one year by doing this, he/she will do it.
Ray Wedell August 26, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Given that the Morton's, McCormicks, and others have their most profitable restaurants per square foot in this location (and in some case, number two is so far behind that you need a search party to find them), I would hope they would try to kill this this thing in a hurry. This is the dumbest thing I have seen in awhile, but then again, I have shaken my head at so many other crazy things being done in business the last ten years. I sense this one is going to happen.
Ray Wedell August 26, 2012 at 11:43 PM
I make many quick stops in the RTC. Those will stop. That will end impulse buying, quick stops at the Apple Store, a glass of wine, a quick marguerita. The spin off negatives are huge. But here is what bothers me more than any of it, and I think many share my view: the nickel-and-dime nature of this thing. People hate to be nickel-and-dimed and be hit with nick-knack fees and extra charges.
Ray Wedell August 26, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Stacy, There is no "like" button here, so let me just say....Good post!
Ray Wedell August 26, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Stu has this one right.
Ray Wedell August 26, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Has anyone thought of the following???? What about the weekend events we have in RTC, which are generally hugely successful? People come in droves, generally in similar time periods. The simple act of stopping at gates to get tickets will slow things down and back traffic into the streets. The act of shuffling to pay to exit a parking lot will frustrate long lines of people and make them think twice about coming back next time. Convenience is crucially important. But then again, there are forces within the planning commission who want to kill the use of cars altogether in RTC to create a planner's nirvana. Imagine the negative economic effect of THAT type of thinking!
Stacy August 27, 2012 at 12:01 AM
I hate to say it but I think the Reston we know and love might be a thing of the past. :-(. Just look what they are trying to do with the golf course? That makes my blood boil.
Ray Wedell August 27, 2012 at 03:23 PM
If we are to succumb to the old adage, "Money talks and ........" then I am afraid you are right. The golf course proposal is so ridiculously outlandish that if we cannot stop that one, you can bring in the proverbial fat lady to start singing.
Aalliiee Marie August 28, 2012 at 01:48 AM
I get my license on Sunday, so this is horrible timing for me. My friends and I go to the Town Center 2-3 times per month (more in the summer) to walk around, see movies, ect, and if they start charging for parking, I don't know what I'll do. Most of them don't have their license yet, so they'll be able to be dropped off, but there is NO WAY I am going to pay money to park at RTC, when I'm already responsible for (and can barely afford to) paying for half of the cost of gas for the family car. I could just go to Tyson's instead of the Town Center, but it's a longer drive and my non-licensed friends wouldn't be able to get rides there (I'm not allowed to transport more than one non-family member at a time for another year). This is insane, not just for adults, but also for the high school-age community as well.
RestonKoolAid September 04, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Oh,here we go. This is what happens when people get greedy. The folks at Boston Properties are seeing all those people and wringing their hands with dollar signs in their eyes, somehow forgetting that all those people show up precisely BECAUSE the parking is plentiful and free. Start sticking meters on those spaces and I fear that much of that foot traffic will disappear. Because as much as Reston Town Center is an "urban setting in a suburban environment", as Peter Johnson puts it, you still must navigate the suburban environment to get to it. In other words, you still have to drive from most places to get here. The public transportation that exists just isn't sufficiently convenient. Just a word of advice from an observant layperson- don't cut off your nose to spite your face, Boston Properties.
Arielle Masters October 25, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Boston Properties is way off base. No way would paid parking make me want to go to RTC unless I had no other option (ie. if I was marching in the RTC holiday parade or in a race there). I don't care how many big buildings outsiders build there, trying to make it LOOK urban; it is NOT urban. I grew up in Reston in the '70s-'80s and have lived nearby since; IMO, RTC was one of the worst things that could have happened to Reston (other than it becoming a ghost town; that would have been worse, but that wasn't going to happen). I *hate* the whole idea of RTC. It's too big, it's overpriced, and it's not at all "Reston". The bigger RTC has gotten, the less I've gone there. Paid parking would kill any remaining desire I'd have to stop by.
Roc Doc November 02, 2012 at 07:12 PM
I live in the Midtown Condominium complex a the RTC so I am not affected the way most of you are. I believe that all of you have very good points to make against instituting pay parking at RTC. However, one valid reason to try something different than we have now is to protect parking for the retailers and restaurants we have here from commuter parking, which could overwhelm the Center, especially since one of you pointed out there will NOT be commuter parking at the Reston Parkway Metro stop. Here is a proposal. 1. Charge for parking from say, 5:00 AM till 10:00 AM weekdays only. This will discourage commuters (I hope). 2. Do not charge employees of RTC businesses during those hours. Give them a card that will allow them free entry 3. Make parking free after 10:00 AM so that people who want to come here to shop and eat, can. 4. Make parking free on weekends. We could discuss if the times I proposed need adjusting and how much to charge. I believe commuter parking could become a problem in the future if nothing is done. If BP is not just a greedy company and really wants to protect the garages from becoming parking for Metro they might consider a proposal such as this. If they are just greedy we will know soon enough.


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